27th March 2024
5 minute read
Categorised under:
Eye Health

Top 5 Vitamins for Maintaining Good Eye Health, According to Ophthalmologists

The benefits of ensuring specific vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are included in your diet are countless. These are not only essential for overall health and wellbeing, but also for supporting eye health and vision.

The most common eye conditions affected by poor nutrition include cataracts, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), dry eye disease. According to experts, the best way to reduce the risk of developing these conditions is by maintaining good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

In line with this, the best vitamins for eye health have been suggested by several studies, including work supported by the Macular Disease Society, with various sources citing how, as part of a healthy diet, vitamins can help reduce risk of certain eye conditions as well as improve overall health.

Top vitamins for eye health

These vitamins are essential for maintaining good eye health.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects the cornea and retina. It is not only crucial for supporting normal vision, but also for seeing well at night. Vitamin A is found in foods such as eggs, cheese, milk, yoghurt, liver, plus yellow and red vegetables and fruits.

B Vitamins

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is a key vitamin for eye health due to its ability to decrease inflammation. Studies suggest it may also help prevent progressive damage to the retina caused by high blood sugar and decreased blood flow (in diabetic retinopathy). Thiamine is found in grains such as bread, rice, and pasta.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) produces an important antioxidant which has been linked to protection against cataract progression. It is also useful for managing corneal abnormalities. Meat, fortified foods, some nuts and green vegetables are good sources of riboflavin.

Vitamins B6, B9 and B12

These may reduce the risk of vascular problems affecting the retina. These vital vitamins can be found in meat, poultry and fish.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an eye health powerhouse. It not only provides antioxidants for healthy retinal function, but also is associated with reduced cataracts and macular degeneration. Fruits like oranges, strawberries and papaya, as well as vegetables like broccoli and peppers, are excellent sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is yet another powerful antioxidant, which slows ‘retinal ageing’ and the progression of macular degeneration. Foods that are high in vitamin E include nuts and seeds, avocados, trout, and butternut squash. Oils like grapeseed and safflower are also excellent sources.

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are among the best nutrients for eye health, as higher intakes has been shown to reduce the progression of macular degeneration and cataracts. They are also thought to help protect the eyes from oxidative stress and consequently reduce eye strain which can result from excessive light exposure from smartphones and computers. These nutrients are found in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids support healthy vision and retinal function throughout your life, with sufficient dosages reducing the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye syndrome. In fact, research has shown that eating just one portion of fish – like cod, sardines and tuna – each week may reduce the risk of developing AMD by up to 40%.


Zinc is essential for retinal function and for supporting the cell membranes and protein structure of the eye. There is substantial evidence showing that zinc, combined with other vitamins good for eye health, can help slow the progression of AMD. Shellfish, red meat, nuts, seeds, and legumes are full of zinc.

Choosing the best vitamin supplements for eye health

Our busy, modern lifestyles mean that it’s not always easy to pack our diets with body-boosting vitamins. As such, many people miss out on essential nutrients. Taking regular supplements can reinforce your system with what it needs to maintain good eye health.

But, knowing which eye health supplements to choose can be confusing. While there are recommendations and guidelines you can follow, it is important to consult with your optometrist/ophthalmologist, GP or other healthcare professional before starting any new vitamin regimen.

Vitamins for eye health are generally safe and beneficial, but you should take precautions if you are pregnant, nursing or taking blood thinners. To avoid the risk of toxicity or drug reactions, you should also be careful to not exceed the recommended daily dose.

Prioritising preventative eye care

In addition to taking vitamins good for eye health, preventative care is vital. That means getting your eyes checked by your optometrist every two years, as recommended by the NHS; protecting your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses; working in proper lighting to avoid excessive eye strain; following the 20:20:20 rule when looking at screens for prolonged periods; and putting on protective eyewear when doing home repairs or gardening.

If you are a smoker, you should stop – smoking increases the risk of many eye conditions including macular degeneration and cataract.

Eye health can be affected by a range of factors. By eating a balanced diet and boosting your nutrient intake with the right supplements for eye health, you can help prevent or slow down the rate at which many common age-related eye conditions develop.

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